My inability to focus and stay focused seems to be a recent thing. I’ve noticed it in the last 3-5 years, actually. I find that I am so incredibly distract-able, mostly at very inopportune times. My doctor has actually diagnosed me as dealing with ADHD and I am on medications to help manage that, but there have been some non-medication habits that help me, too. And, of course, the reason why I am writing this post is because I am literally sitting at my desk with no idea what to share for this week’s wellness post and then getting totally distracted by something else! I’ve been trying to write this post for about an hour now and just had to remind myself of things that help me stay focused that are tried and true. So here we go!
My Personal Habits That Help Me Stay Focused
Tip #1: Consider music and background noise.
I know for a fact that anytime I need to focus, I cannot if there is a TV or radio playing in the background. I can’t work with a podcast playing, the radio on, or Grey’s Anatomy in the background. It’s like my brain short circuits and I get nothing done. A lot of the time, if Sean wants to talk to me, we need to pause whatever music is on! There are some exceptions, however. Somehow I have trained my brain to be incredibly productive when a specific Philip Glass album is playing. I know that any time I realllllly need to get shit done, if I play The Hours soundtrack, I will be able to stay focused and knock it out.
Tip #2: Leave it and go for a walk.
Sometimes you just can’t fit the distractions. That’s when I leave whatever I am doing and go for a walk. Obviously, I have a lot of flexibility with when I work because I am self-employed, but I still hope that you’re able to do this even if you work in an office. Going for a walk is scientifically proven to be so good for your brain and I like to think that it helps to reset and allow your mind to focus better when you get back to the task.
Tip #3: Establish a daily meditation routine.
This tip is especially great if you’re somehow unable to step outside and go for a walk. Instead, you can slip on noise canceling headphones and play a meditation app to help get yourself centered and focused. I especially like this option when I’m traveling and trying to work on the plane.
Tip #4: Learn when you’re most productive.
It’s taken me so long to figure this out, but there are certain times of day when I am way more efficient and productive than others. As much as I hate waking up early, I can get wayyy more done and stay focused longer if I work in the mornings. Then usually around 2 or 3 pm, I get really sleepy and lose my focus. That’s when I either do something physical and away from the computer, like shooting photos, very it keeps me away. Or I take a break and have a nap instead!
Tip #5: Turn off notifications & use ‘do not disturb’ mode.
The day I discovered ‘do not disturb’ mode on my phone is one of the best days of my life. Hyperbole aside, it really has helped me concentrate sooooo much more. I am one of those people who has to pay attention to notifications. If I see that a new email has come in, I drop everything and go look at the email. Same with text messages, direct messages, etc. Most of my friends and family know that I keep my phone on DND while I’m working, so they are used to not receiving a response right away. You can also turn on ‘do not disturb bypass,’ which I have for Sean and all of my pregnant friends (just in case!). That means that if there is a true emergency, they can call you and it will still ring.
So, tell me: how do you stay focused? I would love to know your tips and tricks!